Posted by: morgan1965 | September 5, 2011

Labor Day 2011 – Where Do We Go From Here?

As we observe Labor Day 2011, I want to quote the opening paragraph from my 2010 Labor Day blog. This is what I wrote: “Labor Day is an annual observance that is about much more than a day off from work. It is a celebration of the many vocations that are pursued by American workers. On Labor Day, it is appropriate to honor our workers and express our thanks to them for their labor that makes America what it is today. We, however, do realize that currently there are more people who are unemployed than usual. Our prayer is that there will be more employment opportunities in the near future.”

One year has passed since I wrote those words. Yes, we continue to celebrate the American workers and their many vocations. We honor them and give thanks for their labors that continue to make America a strong nation. Unfortunately, it is not acceptable for this nation to have 14,000,000 people unemployed. That means there are 14 million workers who want to work, but they do not have a job. The actual number is greater than this. The nation is not creating enough new jobs on a monthly basis to make a difference in this demoralizing statistic. That translates into an unemployment rate of 9.1%.

There was a time in the United States when manufacturing jobs employed millions of workers in the United States. I remember my first pastoral appointment in Burlington, New Jersey, a small industrial/manufacturing town at that time, 40 years ago. Many Burlington residents were employed in local factories – the toy factory, the army ammunition plant, the original Burlington coat factory, the dress factories, the pipe foundry, and numerous other small businesses. These places of employment no longer exist. A similar pattern has unfolded across this nation. Numerous manufacturing jobs have been phased out or transported to other nations. Where will American citizen work?

If there are no jobs, where will American men and women work? If people do not have a job, how will they care for themselves and their families? The simple answer is that people need jobs. There are too few jobs, so there is high unemployment.

It seems to me that in order to create new jobs there has to be a partnership between government and the private sector. In a time of national crisis – high unemployment – the federal government (Congress – the House and the Senate) must take the lead in partnership with the President. This kind of critical action, of course will require cooperation, bipartisan cooperation.

It is my prayer that this nation can find a way to do the right thing which is to create meaning jobs for our labor force.

Gracious God, please help our national leaders (executive and legislative) to put aside their political differences and work together for the people, especially the unemployed. Be present with folks who are unemployed and underemployed, unable to bear their financial obligations. Expose among us the many signs of greed, exploitation, and unethical business practices, so that we as a nation can achieve the greater good for all of our communities. We desire that the Holy Spirit would abide among us and enable us to accentuate the positive things in our society and eliminate the negative things. Grant our leaders wisdom and courage, and raise among them your prophetic voices. Amen.

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